Friday, August 31, 2012

Eviction Notice

I don't think anyone told the man-cub that today is his day to rise and shine.
... except that's not true, because Andrew keeps poking my belly and saying, "Out! Come out!" It would appear our son is stubborn. Oh, dear.
I want to kiss his little fingers.
I think my prayers at this point are something akin to a little girl tugging on her father's sleeve:
"When, Daddy? When can I have my present? Soon?"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why We Are Not Poor

Reader, let's be honest.

My husband is a medical student at a private institution. This means we are shelling out major bucks and digging a dark and ugly pit of debt to fund his education. Four years of tuition that continues to rise. This also means he can't get a job to make more money because, well, medical school plus a kid and wife is all a reasonable soul can handle.

I have a degree in English Literature, an almost 39-week-old baby in my belly (any day now...), and even when I was working full-time, it was at a daycare, loving on toddlers. Toddlers don't pay much. Yes, I have a part-time gig as a writing tutor now that I'm officially a stay-at-home mom, but still. Not much.

Technically and realistically, Andrew and I are living under the poverty line. We qualify for food stamps and for Medicaid; the Commonwealth of Virginia is singlehandedly paying for my maternity insurance and medical care, and will pay for the man-cub's insurance. Our two cars are from the 1990s, I don't think we paid for a single piece of furniture in our home, and we pretty much only go out to eat when we have coupons or gift cards. Oh, and Wal-Mart price-matching? We are professionals. Don't get behind us in line. We will take forever.

In the eyes of society, we are poor.

But reader, I have never really thought of us as poor. I don't think we are at all.

We have a sweet little townhouse full of furniture and appliances; we have running water and air conditioning (not that we need it in Virginia); we have shelves full of books, and a fridge full of food.

Our friends and family have outdone themselves in providing for us as we've needed it. I don't think Andrew and I have bought anything that is in the nursery out of of our own pockets. Maybe a cute onesie or two on super-sale at Gap, but nothing else. All given to us, or funded by gift cards given. What?! Our son is completely provided for.

(Andrew and I finished up our baby needs this week with BabiesRUs giftcards; our total? $148.00 How much we had in giftcards? $148.00. Coincidence? You'd be a fool to think it.)

I don't think we've ever had a time when we wondered if we could pay the bills. Student loans, electricity, groceries, even internet ... all paid, every month. Like the widow's oil, we have always been had exactly what we need.

I'm only referencing physical needs, but we are so richly blessed; I don't know how to describe it to you. My heart is full, and our hands are full. And we have friends, we have family, we have dear souls that love us. We have a wonderful church community that pours into us, and that we long to pour back into.

Humbling? Absolutely! It is hard to accept grace. It is humbling and embarassing to admit that you have a need; it is hard for an adult to accept a gift un-asked for. Children never question unprecedented giving, but we are suspicious and embarassed as adults. We want to take care of ourselves, admit we have it all together, show no weakness or want or need.

But of course Andrew and I have needs. It is foolish to refuse to admit it. But we don't have them for long. We don't have deep pockets, but, oh reader! We have a great God with the deepest pockets of all! And how He gives! How He gives!

Poor? Psh. Certainly not us. Nor will we ever be.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Looking Good

As of Thursday, my body is ready whenever the little man is. I'm already dialated, effaced, all that jazz -- now it's all up to him when it's time. I find it incredibly fascinating that medical science still has no idea what induces labor. None. Could be today, could be in three weeks.

Bags are packed, lists are made, the nursery is ready... we're all just waiting on him.

I must admit, on an absolutely selfish note, that I am so ready to not be pregnant any more. I want to wear pretty clothes like these...

Pinned Image
Image via

Pinned Image

I'm ready to wear jeans and dresses with natural waists and scarves and belts. Fall is my favorite fashion season.

I'm ready to get out the Kettlebell and some new tennis shoes, to start working on getting my body to a place I feel pleased about.

But I won't be the only one looking good; I'm so excited to dress the man-cub in little cuties like these...

Image via

Image via

Being a mother isn't glamorous, but it's certainly not all wails and spit-up, either.
God is good. We are blessed.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Barefoot and Pregnant: Little Apple Pies!

I am a rules person. To an embarassing extreme. I read the directions like five times before I even attempt to do anything, and even then I'm constantly checking and re-checking to make sure I'm doing it right. I have a getting-it-right thing.

Cooking, especially. I rarely dare to put anything new together in the kitchen without at least scanning a recipe, if not having a copy in front of me for meticulous inspection. Pitiful, I know. I'm a dependant personality.

But not this time!

I think pregnancy cravings are all what you make them in your own head. We all have cravings for food, pregnant or not, and I think being pregnant just gives women an excuse to eat whatever they want -- and it makes husbands feel like they have to buy whatever the lady says she wants. Andrew refuses to buy me things (because I told him that his job was to keep me from getting fat). But sometimes, I have indulged.

And this time, the pregnant voices said Apple Pie!

I can make an excellent apple pie, but Andrew and I cannot eat a whole pie. Well ... we probably can. Just shouldn't. Plus, I really wanted to make leetle cute pies instead of one big pie.

I decided to make biscuit dough instead of pie crust, because it's sturdier and easier (and yummier!) . So I put on my biscuit-making apron.

 I threw together my mom's recipe, which we both just make by feel, but you can use your favorite biscuit mix/frozen whatever/recipe. I patted the dough out all nice and flat and thin.

Andrew chopped up my apples, and I mixed them up with cinnamon, sugar, and cornstarch. Yum!

I didn't know how big I wanted to make my pies, so I decided to try a couple different sizes. First, I cut out a 5 or 6-inch square of dough (to make a triangle pie), transferred it to my cookie sheet, filled that sucker full of delicious apple goodness, and folded it over.

After making only two of those, I realized they were way too big. Time to downsize.

I decided to try the regular biscuit-size, cutting out circles and then patting the dough out even more. I usually make my biscuits really thick and fluffy, but too fluffy would drown the apples, so I patted them out nice and thin.
More apple filling and folding!

 I didn't bother sealing them perfectly, because the juice was leaking (make sure you Pam your pan!), and the dough was exhausted and not-so-sticky from being messed with so much by this point. And this meant I didn't have to slit breathing holes in the tops, so I let them be. Like little apple tacos.

In the oven at 350 for 25 minutes, and the house smelled amazing. I washed the dishes to pass the time because I'm such a good home-maker.

The huge pies turned out enormous. I'm glad I only made two, though they're very good.

(I had to slice it in half to fit in on my dessert plate...)

The little ones were much cuter.

We didn't have any ice cream, but a glass of milk was certainly good enough for me.
Easy peasy.


Little Apple Pies

Preheat oven to 350 Farenheit. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
Prepare your favorite biscuit dough - enough for a dozen or so biscuits.
(my biscuits are simply made of self-rising flour, Crisco, and milk)

3 or 4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
cinnamon to taste (I used about a teaspoon, I think)
nutmeg to taste (optional)

Peel and chop the apples. The smaller your pies, the smaller the chunks. Mix with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

On a floured surface, pat out dough to 1/2 to 1/4 -inch thick. Cut out biscuits; if dough is 1/2-inch thick, pat out cut biscuit to thin it. Place on cookie sheet.

Fill half of biscuit with apple mixture, leaving room to seal sides. Fold empty half over apple mixture and pinch sides to get a loose seal. (Or make a tight seal and cut a slit in the top for steam to escape.)
Repeat with remaining dough, placing each pie about an inch or so apart on the cookie sheet, depending on how much your biscuits will rise.

Pop in the oven! Bake according to the time for your biscuit recipe. The apples will cook, don't worry -- just don't burn the biscuits! Get them nice and golden brown.
 If desired, brush the tops with the sugary apple juice left over from your apple mixture for a nice glaze.

 Enjoy! (They're just as good the next day, I promise. I had some for breakfast.)
Tell me how they work for you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The reason the Son of God appeared

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
- 1 John 3:8

And the King says, "Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all these things are gone. Yes, they're gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see -- I have wiped away every tear from every eye!"

And then a deep beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, "Look, I am making everything new!"

- Sally Lloyd Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible

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Reader, the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. To bring in His kingdom, to bring light to the darkness, healing to the broken, sight to the blind. To show that when He is king, all things are made new. Being in submission to Jesus means the truest, deepest freedom. Obedience to Him is the only freedom, because one day, we will be free completely from sin, free only to obey. And everything sad will come untrue.

This is our hope, our promise, our future.

Today, my heart is full of this joy.

I hope I never stop learning this, never stop teaching this to my son.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Home. All day. Every day.

Reader, that is terrifying. 

It sounds wonderfully refreshing and free sometimes, but then, other times, it's a right hook I wasn't watching for: I'm going to be home all day by myself with a tiny baby. A beautiful, dearly loved baby boy, yes, but the thought is still intimidating. I am choosing to not hand him off to a daycare worker and continue my own way and career path. I'm choosing to mesh my life and his, not separate them.

Death is frightening. And that, reader, is what's coming. Millie is going to die. 

Maybe only for a season, and hopefully so that from this death will be born a wiser, more mature woman of God (by His grace!), but that future hope doesn't negate the fact that putting to death the Millie that I am now is going to be painful. 

I'm haunted by fears that the parts of me I value so highly are going to shrink away. What if I don't even have time to write?  I never want to look back one day and say sadly to my children, "Oh, I used to write poetry in college." I do not want to give this part of me to the Lord; I don't want to relinquish my white-knuckle grip on this love of mine that seems so desperately inseparable from my identity. I'm afraid that these sacrifices will not be given back to me. I'm afraid that His best for me and our family is not what I want.

Oh, I know that there are groups and forums and programs. I know there are opportunities. I know that this world is full of by-hell-you-can-do-it! support groups and new friends and other young moms; and I know that I am blessed with a beautiful web of friends and family ready and willing to love and speak truth to me. 

I also know this will be good, and worth no matter what I give up, because I believe that God is sovereign over all things, and I believe that His process of sanctifying me is perfect.

I just want to admit: I'm afraid. And I think that's okay, too.